The Hall of Fame Class of 2019: A Story in Tweets

Jan 24, 2019 by Adam Darowski

I’m going to start this post how every blogger starts every post—by telling you I haven’t written much lately. These days when it comes to the Hall of Fame, I’ve been far more inclined to fire off my thoughts on Twitter than piece together a thoughtful article. After all, I’m only human.

Let’s start with the good news: six players are going into the Hall of Fame this summer. The BBWAA selected Mariano Rivera (the first unanimous selection ever!), Edgar Martinez, Roy Halladay, and Mike Mussina. All are incredibly deserving. I was thrilled to update their player pages with the little “Hall of Fame” label.

The Today’s Game Era Committee also made two selections: Harold Baines and Lee Smith. These two were… not as deserving. I totally get the Smith selection. I have a hard time figuring out how to rate relievers, but Smith definitely fits with the relievers currently in the Hall. Baines… this one was tough. I loved Harold Baines as a player. But as a Hall of Famer?

People were asking me all the time about the Baines selection, both on Twitter and in person.

Some challenged me on that “Most shocking player induction of my lifetime” quote. “How about Bill Mazeroski?” they asked. Yes, Maz has a very low Hall Rating. But his selection was understandable. He was a very weak hitter, but even his detractors seem to agree that he was the best defensive second baseman of all time. That is certainly a valid reason to put someone in the Hall of Fame. Can we be certain his Rfield is accurate? We know older seasons are a bit more conservative. Using DRS he might rate even higher. We don’t have that data, though. Would I put Mazeroski in the Hall? Probably not. Do I understand his induction? I do. Do I understand Baines’ selection, knowing what we know today? I do not.

Martinez and Mussina, of course, were already in the Hall of Stats. That means their spots in the Hall of Stats could be used for other players. The class of new players had several more qualified candidates, so the spots came in handy. Todd Helton, Andy Pettitte, Roy Oswalt, and Lance Berkman all were added to the Hall of Stats. Helton and Pettitte took Martinez and Mussina’s spots while Oswalt and Berkman took the spots of Smith and Baines (since they are not in the Hall of Stats).

We saw some excellent gains by some Hall of Stats favorites, particularly Larry Walker.

He saw a huge increase of over twenty percentage points. Next season is his final year of eligibility. He’ll need another huge year to make it, but maybe not an unprecedented one.

Walker’s recent push has made me a bit grumpy about Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

I then clarified my stance on Bonds and Clemens as some seemed to think I was advocating for their election.

That finally led to linking Bonds and Clemens directly to Larry Walker:

Now, I will say that Walker made a larger gain than I was expecting, making his induction via the BBWAA at least a possibility. It’s also become incredibly clear that with a 15-year window, Walker would get in without a struggle. So it really is Bonds’ and Clemens’ fault since that 10-year rule was put in place to get them off the ballot sooner.

On the plus side, we already know of at least eight voters who will be able to fit Walker now that the ballot is a bit thinner.

I’m sure there are more. It’ll take a lot more.

Last year, I was pretty negative about Omar Vizquel. That earned me the wrath of Venezuela Twitter and I didn’t want to go through that again. I did post a series of tweets that honestly and seriously questioned where this BBWAA support is coming from. First, where was this support during MVP voting?

Vizquel also wasn’t paid like a Hall of Famer.

He was also named to only three All Star teams. Scott Rolen, who is dismissed for not feeling like a Hall of Famer, was named to seven.

I don’t get it. When did this shift happen?

Sadly, Oswalt and Berkman fell off the ballot, receiving less than 5% of the vote (much less, in fact). They now join this crew of player with 100+ Hall Ratings who fell off after a single try.

There are some great players there. It’s an unfortunate result. I think both deserved a closer look (particularly with the ballots starting to clear a bit).

Remember, you can always check on the upcoming ballots on our aptly-named Upcoming Elections page.

Last, but not least, I want to give a shout out to Ryan Thibodaux here. I think the level of transparency he has brought to the Hall of Fame voting process has had a truly dramatic effect. He should be very proud—I know I’m very proud of the work Ryan and his team has done. Well done Ryan, Anthony Calamis, Adam Dore, and John Devivo!

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